Paramount today announced that an anthology of five compelling short films, IN BLOOM, will premiere on Friday, March 8. Available on International Women’s Day, the unique collection spans countries and cultures, delving into the complexities of gender issues and following characters on the brink of life-defining moments, by choice or circumstance. 

IN BLOOM has been produced by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation with continued support from Paramount and grant support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The thought-provoking collection tells unheard stories addressing a range of crucial issues, including period poverty, child marriage, gender-based violence, HIV self-stigma, family planning, and women’s economic empowerment. The anthology comes from five female filmmakers from Nigeria, Kenya, India, the US, and Brazil, creatively championing new voices and enabling insightful conversations to dismantle systemic injustices.

The five films are:

●      Period, written and directed by Nicole Teeny: Like many of her classmates at her underserved school, Fay cannot afford menstrual products, so she sets out on a crusade to get them for free. Genre: Comedy Drama, Language: English, Cast: Yasmina El-Abd

●      Alta, written and directed by Priyanka Banerjee: A defiant teenager refusing to come out of the bathroom forces her helpless father to seek help to reason with the girl, but things take a turn when their true relationship is revealed. Genre: Drama; Language: Bengali; Cast: Mazel Vyas

●      Maré, written and directed by Giuliana Monteiro: A mother on the edge of her sanity seeks solace from a tumultuous life situation. Genre: drama/social-realism, Language: Portuguese, English, Cast: Vanessa Giácomo

●      Kifungo, written and directed by Voline Ogutu, is an ambitious romantic struggle with self-acceptance after finding out that she is HIV positive. Genre: Psychological Horror, Language: Swahili, English, Cast: Brenda Wairimu

●      Aféfé, written and directed by Dolapo ‘LowlaDee’ Adeleke: When her elderly and ailing mother-in-law moves in unexpectedly, life for an impassioned local beautician takes a frightening turn. Genre: Drama, Language: Yoruba, Nigerian Pidgin, English, Cast: Folu Storms

IN BLOOM will also premiere on BET and DStv Channel 129 on March 8 at 20:00 CAT. The anthology will also be available on the In Bloom YouTube Channel in India and Africa, with the release of one short film weekly starting on March 9.

Alongside the five female directors, IN BLOOM is executive produced by Georgia Arnold, Richard Chang-Warburton, and Sara Piot for the MTV Staying Alive Foundation.

Monde Twala, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Paramount Africa and Lead BET International, said, “We are incredibly proud to bring the anthology ‘In Bloom’ to African audiences on International Women’s Day. This collection of compelling short films emphasises the diverse experiences and challenges faced by women globally. The stories delve into issues that resonate deeply in our communities. Through these narratives, we aim to spark conversations, raise awareness, and inspire action towards a more inclusive society by amplifying the voices of women whose stories are too often unheard. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating these remarkable films and the women behind them.”

Wame Jallow, Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundations, says, “In Bloom marks an exciting new phase in the work of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation on gender equality. Our experience tells us that working in partnership with the communities we serve is the best way to achieve impact and change in the world. These important narratives and the way they were made have already enabled thought-provoking reflections on gender within the team involved in their creation. In Bloom, she connects the dots and brings to light’silent pandemics’ that affect not just women and girls but our global communities, and I can’t wait for the films to be shared with audiences everywhere.”

The anthology builds upon Paramount’s commitment to make gender equity a focus across the entire ecosystem, a shared journey that the company started long ago, leading to an increased representation of women in leading roles across its content.

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